The Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy at Freie Universität Berlin is opening a new graduate center.
No 290/2019 from Oct 09, 2019
As of Wednesday, doctoral students in the Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy at Freie Universität Berlin, around 800 in all, can take advantage of the new graduate center, located on Arminallee 22 on the Dahlem campus. The center will provide them with advising services regarding administrative procedures as well as opportunities for professional training, networking, and career counseling related to their field. People interested in pursuing a doctoral degree or who have already started to do so will find a wealth of information and support there. The center will also host special training workshops and courses for doctoral students. The new structure aims to strengthen ties between doctoral students and alumni that persist beyond the connections formed within research groups or within specific institutes. The center will provide services related specifically to the departmental level, as a supplement to the university-wide support provided for early-career researchers through the Dahlem Research School (DRS).
Dean of the Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, Professor Matthias C. Rillig says, "Establishing a departmental graduate center marks a big step forward. It is very important that we support doctoral students in forming professional contacts and sharing scientific knowledge." "If we want to help the next generation of researchers, we need to improve and expand our services in terms of academic advising and research culture," states Jörg Rademann, the vice dean for student affairs in the department and a professor of pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry. The graduate center will provide basic services for all doctoral students in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and pharmacy.
"Just doing research is not enough. Researchers also have to learn how to write grant proposals, give presentations, plan publications, and keep an eye on different career options," says Dr. Alette Winter, who holds a doctorate in chemistry. She plans to coordinate training and advising opportunities for doctoral students in cooperation with the DRS that will help them build these types of skills. In the future, advisors will also be able to take advantage of support services through the graduate center.
Of the nearly 800 researchers currently working on doctorates in the Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, over half are doing research at non-university research institutions. Structured doctoral programs, such as those organized by Collaborative Research Centers funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), are often primarily focused on a specific research topic. These programs offer academic advising as well as professional development, orientation, and networking opportunities. But they are only open to a limited number of doctoral researchers. A large number of doctoral students do not have the benefit of that kind of support during their degree work. The graduate center hopes to change that.